The Fiesta Bowl is upon us, which must mean the playoff is right around the corner. We get a pretty good matchup of the Washington Huskies and Penn State Nittany Lions. The committee got it right with this matchup. Washington representing the Pac-12 and Penn State of the Big Ten. The Pac-12 has not looked too good, including losses by Arizona State, USC, Washington State, and Arizona.
That is horrifically bad for a conference that people like to call overrated. Other than Utah, the Pac-12 has laid an egg during bowl season. They’ve been severely overmatched, and the games haven’t even been close. Washington will look to save the day for the Pac-12. Conversely, with the Buckeyes win last night, the Big Ten has gone 5-0.
It’s been embarrassing for the west coast teams thus far, but Washington can restore a little bit of faith tonight. The Huskies are a year removed from a loss in the playoff, a 24-7 loss to Alabama in the Peach Bowl. Bama ultimately moved on and lost to Clemson in the National Championship. The Huskies are out this season, but will have an opportunity to beat a quality team from the Big Ten. Penn State flirted with the top-4 for a bit, but were done in by back-to-back losses to Ohio State and Michigan State. They lost a nail biter against the Buckeyes by a score of 39-38 and just didn’t have any juice left in the tank for the next week against Michigan State.
A win over Michigan State would have been the difference here. It goes to show how important it is to forget about the last week and not take your opponents lightly. Penn State could show that they belonged in the playoff with a blowout win tonight. Considering the way the Pac-12 has been playing in bowls this season, a small win probably won’t sway people too much. Nonetheless, the Nittany Lions finished the year on fire, with three straight wins and 52.3 points per game.
This will in all likelihood be Saquon Barkley’s final game at Penn State. He hasn’t made a decision yet, but I’d be surprised if he goes back to college. His quarterback, Trace McSorley, will have a tough time convincing teams with his 6-foot, 195-pound frame that he’s an NFL quarterback. McSorley has another year of eligibility remaining, so we’ll see him back next season. Get our free Washington vs. Penn State pick in the Fiesta Bowl below.
Washington Huskies vs. Penn State Nittany Lions Betting Odds:
vs. Penn State -2.5(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Washington vs. Penn State Pick:
Washington were playing good football to wrap up the year as well. They won their last two games, beating Utah, 33-30, and Washington State, 41-14, in the Apple Cup. The Huskies are led by Jake Browning and Dante Pettis. John Ross left for the NFL last season, so it left Pettis as the go-to guy at Washington.
Pettis is an attractive option for NFL teams, he is a special returner, and is more than just a receiver. NFL teams love players who are capable of doing multiple things on the field. Pettis broke the record for punt returns in 2017 back in the beginning of November with nine. Browning has thrown for 18 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He is certainly not the same without the help of Ross, but still played well.
Myles Gaskin is a force in the backfield for the Huskies. He can carry the team on his back if need be. Gaskin rushed for 1,282 yards and 22 touchdowns. He’s a physical runner that has some receiving skills, too. Gaskin hauled in 228 yards and 3 touchdowns in the passing game. As a team, the Huskies did lag behind the numbers they put up a year ago, though. They were 55th in the FBS, as they accumulated 412 yards per game. Pettis is a huge reason why Washington had a record of 10-2. Penn State aren’t no fools defensively. Their legacy of having some of the best linebacker play in the country has carried on over the decades. They’re 20th in the country, allowing an average of 329 yards per game, and 7th with 15.5 points allowed per.
The Huskies are right there with them, with 14.5 points allowed per game for 6th in the nation. Penn State did have issues along their offensive line this season. They were only able to secure 13 plays of more than 40 yards this season. They’ve been pounding the rock with Barkley, but their deep ball game has lacked. Same goes for Washington, who were capable of exploding at any moment with John Ross. This total looks a bit too high for my liking. The defenses should be able to control this game, with field position playing a vital role in declaring the victor on Saturday in the Fiesta Bowl. I see a 27-24 game here.
PICK: UNDER 54.5 (-110)